Ferguson has no regrets over depleted team

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The Independent Football

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson insisted today that he has no regrets about his controversial team selection for the penalty shootout FA Cup semi-final defeat by Everton.

United resume their Premiership title defence against Portsmouth at Old Trafford on Wednesday and Ferguson will select the strongest side available.

"Trying to deal with the tiredness after Wembley, especially after extra-time, was always going to be the issue," Ferguson told a news conference.

"But there is enough freshness in the rest of the squad to be alright on Wednesday, that's how we planned it.

"We're coming to the period when it's game after game after game, it's all go now. Hopefully, I'll pick the right teams and I can understand how there would be some criticism because it didn't work for us yesterday.

"But I'm absolutely convinced I picked the right team. I've no regrets about it at all."

Although not using it as an excuse for the loss to Everton on Sunday, Ferguson also joined in the condemnation of the Wembley pitch.

"The issue for the FA is that it is used for other things," said Ferguson. "People told me they had speedway or motor cycles on it so it is difficult to bed the pitch down. It makes it a terrible pitch.

"It looked heavy and slow on Saturday and that's the feeling our players had on Sunday. Spongy was the word they used."

Having rested so many senior players against Everton, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, Ferguson may see Arsene Wenger do the same when Arsenal travel to Liverpool, United's closest challengers, on Tuesday.

"I don't know what Arsene will be thinking about the game," said Ferguson. "But no matter what, Arsenal always try. That's the mantra of Arsene himself, he's a winner.

"I'm not concerning myself with that game, I'm concerning myself with my own team."